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December 2010

Trying to Go Green

December 30, 2010 | Judy | Comments (0)

If, like me, you have recently registered for a Toronto Hydro Time-of-Use [TOU] account, you will know that there is nothing like seeing your electricity use graphically displayed on a daily basis [with costs] to make you think a little more about when and how much you use your appliances.

So, in hopes of going a little greener in 2011, I have signed up for a Live Green membership card. The card, which is only one of the initiatives of Live Green Toronto, helps to you identify participating green businesses [and even save some money, as there are discounts and special offers available to members].

But, you don’t have to join Live Green Toronto to take advantage of the information on their website and the City of Toronto’s Environment page , which are full of ideas on how you can ‘green’ your life, neighbourhood, school or company. And, what better green resource is there than the library? – you’re recycling every time you borrow a book! Here are some suggestions if you want to read more:

  Ediblecity    Suzukigreen guide    Ecoholichome    Greenroofdesigns    TowerRenewalGuidelines


What's Behind the Hoarding at TRL? Part 2

December 22, 2010 | Dawn | Comments (0)

The re:vitalization and renovations continue on the city's largest public library, Toronto Reference Library and we thought you might like to take a quick look at what's going on behind that hoarding on Yonge Street and up on the second floor. In process are:

  • Foundation work
  • Piping and duct work
  • Yonge St. window wall framing and glazing
  • Landscape work
  • New Study Pod mock ups


TRL Main Entrance, Cube site TRL Second Floor demolition TRL Yonge St, new windows

At 400,000 square feet, and with over 50 miles of stacks, the Toronto Reference Library first opened its doors on November 2, 1977. Its modern design and sweeping 10-storey atrium led Canadian Architect magazine to call it " of this country's most important 20th century buildings."

Visit us, check out the new changes already in place, or even make a gift to keep one of the city's best - and free - services vital.


Warning . . . Worldometers is a virtual, real-time, worldwide, statistical, mashup that may cause dizziness and vertigo . . .

December 20, 2010 | Richard | Comments (2)


The first time I visited Worldometers I had the feeling that I was suddenly put into orbit and looking down on the collective activity of all earth's human inhabitants: here presented in real-time are statistics on 'World Population', 'Government and Economics', 'Society and Media', 'Environment', 'Food', 'Water', 'Energy', and 'Health'. Within these broad categories are spinning clocks, some going fast, others moving slowly, recording total numbers on things like: "Births today", "Cellular phones sold today", "Carbon dioxide emissions this year, in tons", "Tons of food produced this year", "People with no access to safe drinking water", "Days to the end of oil", and "Road traffic fatalities this year".

Where do these statistics come from and how accurate are they?  According to their website, Worldometers is managed by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers "with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world". It is further claimed that "sources are carefully selected to include only data published by the most reputable organizations and statistical offices in the world". Indeed, it is an impressive list, and includes our very own Statistics Canada (1). For each hyper-linked clock, you can see what statisical sources are used to compile the figures. However, there are many clocks for which there are no sources linked - and in these cases, there may or may not be footnotes.

And what about the real-time aspect . . . how does that work? According to Worldometers, the real-time numbers are based on Worldometers’ algorithm "that processes the latest and most accurate statistical data available together with its estimated progression to compute the current millisecond number to be displayed on each counter based on the specific time set on each visitor’s computer clock". You can consult their frequently asked questions page to learn more about the mechanism.

All in all, it's a very informative and intriguing site.

(1) Because TRL has full depository status, we can provide access to the Stats Can E-STAT service - containing CANSIM and the Censuses. E-STAT is available in all 99 Branches of Toronto Public Library - unfortunately, these databases are not available remotely.

p.s. According to Worldometers, at the time I submitted this entry to our site, worldwide there were already 378,950 blog posts published today . . . or is that 379,015 . . . ? . . .




The Big Picture

December 17, 2010 | Dawn | Comments (3)

Photojournalism has it roots in the mid-19th century and the Boston Globe's photo series published over the last three days emphasizes that this art form still flourishes across the globe.

The Big Picture, 120 photographs, published over three days is now complete and available to view online. Take a look at just a few of the events which define the year 2010. 

Mars Rover

To learn more about the power of the photograph why not stop by the Toronto Reference Library and read one of these books:

Digital photojournalism   The photograph   Photojournalism

Digital Photojournalism  by Susan C. Zavoina
The Photograph by Graham Clarke
Photojournalism: the Professionals'Approach by Kenneth Kobre

Stay connected and current through newspapers from across the world here at the Toronto Reference Library's newspaper room, on the lower level. Or explore the past through historical newspapers held in our Baldwin Room.


via Anne G

What’s New with our Old Stuff?

December 16, 2010 | Dawn | Comments (0)

Libraries, especially research libraries like the Toronto Reference Library, exist to preserve cultural artifacts and to preserve access to them - serving as cultural memory, if you will. Until  recently, users have had to physically visit the library in order to make use of its rich resources.  Since 1998, the Library has been actively digitizing our unique and rare collections, and making them available to our users 24/7 through our Digital Collections website

Now, a student working past 11pm can find a picture of an early Arctic map for his school project:

(Gerard Mercator, 1512-1594. Septentrionalium terrarum description)

… or a genealogist can find a picture of her grandmother’s summer cottage at the turn of the century:

(MacDougall family Fonds S260)

But now, ten years into the programme, it's time to re-evaluate how our users want to interact with, and use, our digital collections, and we need your help.  Please take a few mintues and complete our online survey by clicking on the link below:

The survey will be live until January 2, 2011.

We’ll be checking in with you frequently as we work toward our new, improved Digital Collections user experience. Thank you for your participation.


via Kathryn C

Research Skills

December 14, 2010 | Beatriz | Comments (0)

The User Education Department of the Toronto Reference Library offers a workshop to help you use its collections and services. The workshop is divided into two parts:

Research Skills Part I is an orienation to the library system in general, and a detailed history and overview of the Toronto Reference Library in particular. How to use the web site to find books and journals in the open shelves, the closed stacks and special locations of the building are all carefully explained. As well, Part I of Research Skills examines different concepts of information classification and reference levels, both essential elements to do research, regardless of what library or archive you need to consult. Part I includes a walking tour of the building.

Research Skills Part II goes deeper into effectively using the online catalogue to find library materials, not just through keyword searching, but through the use of standard subject headigns. This workshop will also introduce you to the library's extensive collections of online journals, or databases.

To find out about scheduled courses between January and March, click "Programs, Classes & Exhibits", immediately above, select "Toronto Reference Library" at right, and browse through the programs offered. You can also phone the User Education line to find out about dates, and to register for the program, at 416-393-7209.



Seasons Greetings and a Display from Staff at the TRL Picture Collection Desk

December 13, 2010 | Richard | Comments (4)

In a distant land, high high up, where the sun always shines
and you can see all the world below
in a magical corner, almost hidden from view,
is a tiny snow-filled world of fairy splendour . . .

Come to the 4th floor and you can see the Postcard Display for yourself,
vintage snowy images filled with delight . . .

Christmas Card display 10

The Display 'the soft and silent snow' takes its name from a 19th c poem by George Washington Bungay.


Christmas Card 10

Postcards "in the soft and silent snow' are situated at the far south end of the floor opposite the Picture Collection Desk, and though hidden in shadows and recesses to protect its delicate nature, still calms the eye and revives the spirit.

We hope you'll take a peek when you come for a visit.

For a description of some of our services, please see our earlier post: Artists, can you picture this?

Display and Intro by Stephanie
Photos by Elmslie

Need business or market research help? Call IntelliSearch!

December 8, 2010 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)

Busy-GuySwamped with work but need Help?  Get the information you need when you need it!

Our research specialists are standing by to provide fee-based custom research.

IntelliSearch researchers conduct market research for entrepreneurs starting a new business or for those considering investing in a new or unfamiliar industry.

Our researchers have access to the Toronto Reference Library's extensive collections, Toronto Public Library's many databases as well as IntelliSearch's additional databases to provide you with a wide range of resources for your market research, such as:

  • Market research databases that profile industries and identify trends and projections
  • Expert searching of Statistics Canada products including CANSIM
  • Insutry and trade directories and databases to identify competitors
  • Industry, trade and news articles to identify current trends
  • Demographic information from a variety of sources
  • Ontario Securities filings from 1970
  • Current and historical annual reports for detailed company information

Open Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM at 416-393-7241.  Rush service is also available.  For more details please see




Artists, can you picture this?

December 4, 2010 | Dawn | Comments (0)

PC3 Artists, illustrators, designers and researchers have known about the Toronto Reference Library's Picture collection for years. It now has a new home on the 4th floor and we invite everyone to come and check it out. And we mean that literally! Items from the picture collection can be borrowed.

The collection covers a huge range of subjects from people to places to things from across the globe. Pictures come from magazines, brochures, books, ads, photographs, and more. We have been collecting images for over 80 years and the files currently fill 74 filing cabinets.

Workshops introducing the library’s extensive Picture Collection can be arranged for classes or groups. Telephone 393-7005 to set up a session.

We don't like to drop names, but here are a few people who have used our collection. Maybe it's time for you to pay us a visit too:

ANITA KUNZ - In 2009, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions as an illustrator and caricaturist.  Anita is best known for her satirical depiction of political issues and celebrity portraits.  Her work has been featured on the covers of many magazines including Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, and The New Yorker.  She has created two stamps for Canada Post and in 2003 she was the first Canadian and first woman to have a solo exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington.

LAURIE MCGAW - Artist, illustrator and television star. Laurie is known for her portraits of such renowned Canadians as Oscar Peterson, Peter Gzowski and Norman Jewison as well as her award-winning illustrated books. Laurie was one of three portrait artists featured on the premier episode of the Bravo reality television show ‘Star Portraits” which aired September 2009.  Each of 13 episodes brought together one famous Canadian and three accomplished portrait artists for a sitting.  Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko was the subject for the premier show. Her portraits have been featured on four collector’s coins that she designed for the Royal Canadian Mint, including a $300.00 gold coin series celebrating the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

GERARD GAUCI - Gerard is widely known as a set designer and painter.  Early in his career, he achieved fame for his posters promoting the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. For more than 25 years, Gerard has been the resident set designer for Opera Atelier, Toronto’s internationally renowned baroque opera company.  For the first time in his career with Opera Atelier, Gerard has also created the costumes for the current production of Acis and Galatea which opened at the Elgin theatre on October 30th.


with thanks to LH

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